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Re: [CF] Very Disappointed

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  • Christopher Miller
    I m sorry to see you saying you want to leave; for myself, I ve been tempted to post a couple of times to wonder why certain people on this list (and it is a
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 10, 2008
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      I'm sorry to see you saying you want to leave; for myself, I've been
      tempted to post a couple of times to wonder why certain people on this
      list (and it is a minority and quite often the same individuals) seem
      so humourless and intent on flaming each other. Unfortunately, they
      always seem to get the most attention and make the list an unpleasant
      place to be sometimes, and it's almost guaranteed that any complaint I
      post might just get used as tinder for yet more flames.

      I can see how you would take some of what I wrote as if it were in the
      same spirit. I am the person who posted the various links on helmet
      use. I'm sorry you took what I wrote as if it were calling you
      "stupid" or "naive" but really, that's not at all what I wrote. Part
      of my reason for writing those particular words is because that is how
      people continually treat me because I don't wear a helmet. I have had
      people telling me it's "dangerous!" (actual quote) to be out riding in
      winter and going on at me that I should be wearing a helmet and
      telling me I am -- and these, again, are actual quotes -- "stupid" and
      "crazy" not to do so. This includes one guy in suburban northeast
      Washington DC a few years ago who leapt in his car and came tearing
      down the street after me -- in his car -- to start yelling at me --
      from his driver's seat -- for not wearing a helmet. The thing is that
      I find myself continually being treated as if *I* were naive and
      stupid for not wearing a helmet by people who don't seem to have taken
      the time to really check the facts.

      The actual quote "naive fools" comes from this part of my first email
      replying to someone's question about "Car-free hairstyles" (March 15):

      "Keep in mind that the areas that most use bikes, such as Japan, the
      Netherlands, Denmark and other urban areas in Europe, are basically
      helmet free zones and their inhabitants -- who I would not consider a
      bunch of naive fools or daredevils, as the attitude of many commenters
      in North America and Australia would make them out to be -- themselves
      marvel at the kind of thinking that makes many North Americans think
      it a necessity to ensconce their heads on one of these talismans just
      to go pedalling down the road.."

      (I see I made a typo there: it should have been "ensconce ... in"...
      oops!)

      As you can see, I was not calling anyone naive or foolish. (The person
      I replied to understood this and thanked me in a reply for what I had
      posted.) I was questioning the very widespread attitude of many who
      consider others to be naive and foolish -- again, in my experience,
      exactly the kind of sentiments you see far too often in North America
      -- for not wearing helmets. I did write that some people treat helmets
      as if they were some kind of magic talisman, all that is needed to
      protect themselves. This was inspired by many helmet wearers (not
      necessary all), who seem to think all they need for safety is a helmet
      and forget all common sense about careful cycling: I see this far too
      often on the streets and it is a really unfortunate result of the way
      biking as transportation is not really taken seriously in most of
      North America.

      If it's your choice to wear a helmet, I will not say anything against
      you for that, because it's your choice. And again, though you
      misunderstood me, I was not insulting anyone jor trying to force my
      opinions down anbody's throat, but did reserve my right to vigorously
      complain about the attitudes of those who propound a distorted view of
      the risks of cycling and what it takes to avoid what risks there might
      be (and, from my experience with helmet proponents, force their
      opinions down other people's throats). Like any debate, there are
      opposing views, and people on each side often express themselves
      strongly. For example, one tires of electoral campaigns, especially
      the style you often see in the US, for the same reason, yet that would
      not be a reason to just walk away from them.

      For myself, when I see boorish behaviour on this list (and others I am
      on), I sigh and delete. I make sure, when I am reading something that
      sounds inflammatory, that I am not misreading what the author said and
      making them say something they didn't.

      I know it can get very annoying sometimes, but I hope you do stay on.
      There is often useful stuff on this list, despte the dross, and I
      think what I post from time to time is of interest for people to think
      about.

      You might also like to take a look at the Carfree Cities Yahoo! group
      for a slightly different angle on carfree living. I tend to post more
      often to that list, but different kinds of articles.

      Hoping you have a good week, and keep rolling!

      Chris in Montreal


      On 10-Apr-08, at 7:55 AM, Pixie Styx wrote:

      > I joined this group a few weeks ago hoping to gain some insight on
      > car-free living. Instead, all I found was a bunch of people trying
      > shove their opinions down other peoples' throats and out-yelling each
      > other to prove their superiority. So it is with just a smackerel of
      > sadness that I leave this group. But, being a woman, I will have the
      > last word.
      >
      > I posted my views on helmet-wearing, only to be, basically, called
      > naive and stupid for wearing a "talisman" on my head. And more than
      > one person attacked me because my choice to wear a helmet might,
      > possibly one day in the undetermined future cause a law to be passed
      > that would force them to wear a helmet as well. I'm not sure how
      > that could happen, especially when one of those people lives on
      > another continent, but perhaps there is a world-wide helmet-wearing
      > law enforcement unit that I am unaware of. I am stupid and naive,
      > after all.
      >
      > The epitome of rudeness and, in my eyes, narrowminded ingorance, is
      > the current thread regarding one person's description of a "frozen
      > fishing village". HE WAS USING HUMOR TO MAKE A POINT, PEOPLE!! He
      > didn't even say it about Sydney, even though someone read it that
      > way. If you're so defensive about Sydney, perhaps you should think
      > about YOUR perception of Sydney, given that you're so quick to assume
      > someone else is dissing your hometown.
      >
      > Holy shit, people! This is supposed to be a forum for all of us to
      > exchange ideas about how to use alternate forms of transportation,
      > thereby bettering ourselves and the planet. Pretty much all I've
      > seen is petty insults and pissing contests. It's disgusting.
      >
      > ~ Susan
      >
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Hansen
      ... I haven t been paying much attention to this list recently, other things to do. When I do pay it attention it tends to be mostly discussions on car free
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 11, 2008
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        On 10 Apr 2008 at 11:55, Pixie Styx wrote:

        > I posted my views on helmet-wearing, only to be, basically, called
        > naive and stupid for wearing a "talisman" on my head.

        I haven't been paying much attention to this list recently, other
        things to do. When I do pay it attention it tends to be mostly
        discussions on car free living. Part of that involves cycling and
        unfortunately bits of plastic do get involved in many discussions of
        cycling, mostly due to the zeal of enthusiasts for such bits of
        plastic.

        It appears from your posting that nobody actually called you naive or
        stupid, but it is something you have implied from what people have
        typed. Nobody particularly likes having their views tested, but it is
        important not to stamp one's foot if others do so.

        > And more than
        > one person attacked me because my choice to wear a helmet might,
        > possibly one day in the undetermined future cause a law to be passed
        > that would force them to wear a helmet as well.

        Unfortunately that is the position of government in the UK and perhaps
        other places. Whether people who voluntarily wear a bit of plastic on
        their head want it or not, their choice is viewed by the Department for
        Transport as a vote for compulsion. That fact is why those of us not
        keen on bits of plastic on the heads of cyclists cannot simply treat it
        as a matter of personal choice.

        Over the years I have seen all sorts of tips on car free/car minimised
        living on this list. I'm sorry if a helmet war has put you off, but
        there are plenty of other things that come up from time to time. You
        can always filter out posts and posters you don't want to listen to.




        --
        David Hansen, Edinburgh
        I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents
        me
        http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
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